Two Chinese scientists received the State's top award for their contributions to science and technology -- worth 5 million yuan (US$602,400) each -- from China's top leader Jiang Zemin in the Great Hall of the People Monday.
Yuan Longping, a well-known scientist who has done work on hybrid rice at the Hunan Academy of Agricultural Science, and Wu Wenjun, a prestigious mathematician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, were each awarded the big prize for their achievements over the past two years.
They were honored the State Supreme Scientific and Technological Award. President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders met with scientists before the award ceremony.
Premier Zhu Rongji, on behalf of the central government, congratulated the prizewinners and conveyed greetings to all Chinese scientists.
Awarding scientists is part of a long-term policy of the central government that aims to create a climate of respect for knowledge and talent in China and to encourage scientists to contribute more to the country's economic and social development, said Zhu.
Zhu said Yuan Longping and Wu Wenjun are two outstanding Chinese scientists. Their achievements have been important in advancing economic and social development. Their dedication to science is something other scientists should take a lesson from.
As a developing country, China relies on scientific and technological progress to rejuvenate its economy, the premier said.
At the dawn of the century, China plans to speed up economic restructuring and development by using advanced technology to upgrade traditional industries, said Zhu.
The premier said the state will continue to increase its input into developing advanced technologies that are significant to the national economy and people's lives.
The state will also deepen reforms of remuneration systems in scientific sectors, by listing technological invention as something that needs monetary remuneration for instance, to make scientists more enthusiastic about their research work, said Zhu.
China set up the State Supreme Scientific and Technological Award in May 1999.
The award honors no more than two scientists each year, and the winner gets 5 million yuan (US$602,400) and a certificate presented by the president.
AWARD: Over 2,600 scientists honored
At Monday's ceremony, about 2,600 other scientists were also honored with the State Award for Natural Sciences, the State Award for Technological Invention and the State Award for Scientific and Technological Progress.
These awards were set up in the mid-1980s to encourage scientists to make breakthroughs in cutting-edge fields.
Two foreign scientists were also recognized for their work at the ceremony, winning the China International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award, which was established by the State Council in 1993. They are Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky from the United States and Gurdev Sigh Khush from India.
The 2,600-odd scientists honored Monday are involved in 288 research programmes covering such fields as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, animal husbandry, the manufacturing industry, health, power, water conservation, transportation and post and telecommunications.
These projects have significantly propelled the country's economic and social development, said Huang Yingda, director of the National Science and Technology Awards Office.
(China Daily 02/20/2001)